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Author Topic: And my "How the hell did I miss this?" game of 2006 is...  (Read 1866 times)
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Gratch
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« on: December 29, 2006, 03:51:17 PM »

Dreamfall.

I caught Dreamfall on someone's "Best of" list (Gamespot, maybe?), and it looked remotely intriguing.  I typically haven't been a fan of the adventure genre, but I decided to give it a shot.  Lucked into a copy on Wednesday afternoon, and proceeded put in a 10 hour session that afternoon, and another 4 hour session last night to wrap it up.  I'd never even heard of the game before, but quite frankly, it absolutely blew me away.  It's technically an adventure game, but there are some stealth and fighting mechanics also involved.  To be honest, neither of them are particularly good, but it really doesn't matter.  The storyline is absolutely incredible and is easily the best I've seen in a game in a very, very long time.  Anyone who is a fan of sci-fi or fantasy owes it to themselves to check this one out, as there's plenty of both.   There are some absolutely wonderful characters that you feel a true connection with, and the cliffhanger ending will leave you itching for a sequel (it's the middle of a planned trilogy that started with The Longest Journey). 

You may not have heard of it, but if you enjoy a brilliant story and beautiful graphics, you have to check out Dreamfall.  After the past 2 days, it jumped from "never heard of it" to easily the second best game I've played this entire year behind FFXII.  This is definately a hidden gem that I think many of us probably just overlooked.
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2006, 03:57:58 PM »

I started the first one many years ago but man...it was talk talk talk talk talk talk talk.  My wife and I planned to play it together but she fell asleep. Never went back to it.

Supposed to be magnificent though.
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2006, 04:02:10 PM »

Quote from: ATB on December 29, 2006, 03:57:58 PM

I started the first one many years ago but man...it was talk talk talk talk talk talk talk.  My wife and I planned to play it together but she fell asleep. Never went back to it.

Supposed to be magnificent though.

I found the first one to be the same way-  too much talk at the beginning.  I've always wanted to go back and try it again but now I just need to find a copy.
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2006, 04:12:03 PM »

The first one was ok.  Didn't live up to ALL the hype about it, however... it was more the adventure game equivalent to that Eddie Murphy joke about the starving guy eating a cracker, claiming it's the best food he's ever tasted.  SCUMM-style adventure games were entirely dead at that point, and were still dead after it was released.  The genre might be making a bit of a comeback, but if you love that style, they were about the only game in town.

I finished the game, it was ok.  And I wouldn't be opposed to playing a sequel... but I refuse to give any money to JoWood.  If I can pick this up either in a trade or used, that's how I'll be getting it.
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2006, 04:13:13 PM »

If you don't like a lot of dialog, this probably isn't the game (or series) for you.  It's really more of an interactive story than a proper game.  As Mrs. Gratch put it (she watched me play the last 2/3 of it), it really felt more like a 13 hour movie than an actual game.  You'll be putting down the controller for long stretches at a time while the story is told.

This didn't bother me at all because the story and characters were so incredibly well done.  If you're looking for something fast paced, however, you'll want to look elsewhere.
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2006, 04:14:10 PM »

Yeah, I loved Dreamfall.  Storyline was fantastic, loved the world/art design, and while I wish the puzzles were a bit harder they were wonderfully organic and didn't seem contrived like most adventure game puzzles.

So, Gratch, am I to take it you never played The Longest Journey? 
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2006, 04:17:39 PM »

Quote from: unbreakable on December 29, 2006, 04:12:03 PM

I finished the game, it was ok.  And I wouldn't be opposed to playing a sequel... but I refuse to give any money to JoWood.  If I can pick this up either in a trade or used, that's how I'll be getting it.

I don't see JoWood mentioned anywhere on the box, unless they're associated somehow with Funcom.  If you're interested, I'd be willing to trade my copy.  Once you're done with the story and know how it wraps up, there's really not much reason to go back and replay it.

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So, Gratch, am I to take it you never played The Longest Journey?

Nope, missed it entirely.  I have managed to track down a copy, and it should be arriving next week.  From people familiar with both, I've heard TLJ is an even better story, so I can't wait to get started!
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2006, 04:23:58 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on December 29, 2006, 04:17:39 PM

Nope, missed it entirely.  I have managed to track down a copy, and it should be arriving next week.  From people familiar with both, I've heard TLJ is an even better story, so I can't wait to get started!

I don't know if I'd call the story better.  Probably more like equally as good.  Unfortunately you'll know a few of the surprises since you've played Dreamfall.  TLJ is still well worth playing (I just replayed it this year after starting Dreamfall) but be aware that it's a much more conventional adventure game in format- ie very contrived, wacky puzzles.
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2006, 04:37:59 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 29, 2006, 04:23:58 PM

I don't know if I'd call the story better.  Probably more like equally as good.  Unfortunately you'll know a few of the surprises since you've played Dreamfall.  TLJ is still well worth playing (I just replayed it this year after starting Dreamfall) but be aware that it's a much more conventional adventure game in format- ie very contrived, wacky puzzles.

The goofy/nonsensical puzzles are normally what turn me off about adventure games, but I should be OK with a good GameFAQ.  I'm dying to know how the characters tie together from the two games.
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2006, 04:39:25 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on December 29, 2006, 04:37:59 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 29, 2006, 04:23:58 PM

I don't know if I'd call the story better.  Probably more like equally as good.  Unfortunately you'll know a few of the surprises since you've played Dreamfall.  TLJ is still well worth playing (I just replayed it this year after starting Dreamfall) but be aware that it's a much more conventional adventure game in format- ie very contrived, wacky puzzles.

The goofy/nonsensical puzzles are normally what turn me off about adventure games, but I should be OK with a good GameFAQ.  I'm dying to know how the characters tie together from the two games.

If you've never used it, I highly recommend www.uhs-hints.com .  They've got a great system that gradually gives you hints before outright telling you what to do. 
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2006, 04:56:09 PM »

Played the whole thing.  The story and characters are indeed great, but it doesn't come to any conclusion.  Very much a Halo 2 style "ending."  I thought the gameplay was so bad that it actually interfered with the story.  Hopefully the dude will just write a book next time  icon_twisted  But I hear he's talking about making the whole thing an MMO.
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2006, 04:59:11 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on December 29, 2006, 04:17:39 PM


I don't see JoWood mentioned anywhere on the box, unless they're associated somehow with Funcom.  If you're interested, I'd be willing to trade my copy.  Once you're done with the story and know how it wraps up, there's really not much reason to go back and replay it.

My bad.  I actually meant Funcom, but mixed them up with JoWood (who have been associated with them (and still are for all I know), and also rank quite high on the suckitude index).
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2006, 05:23:39 PM »

Quote from: kathode on December 29, 2006, 04:56:09 PM

But I hear he's talking about making the whole thing an MMO.

God, I hope not.  I fail to see how that story could be told  in any way, shape, or form in an MMO setting.  Not to mention the fact that I hate MMO games.
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2006, 06:24:45 PM »

I thought TLJ was decent enough, but not the mind-blowing game many feel it to be. It does have a good story. I found the running around to be particularly annoying for some reason (probably because there are screens that involve nothing other than you running a long distance, and you have to go across these things repeatedly (particularly when you aren't sure what you're supposed to be doing next and are exploring options). SOme of the puzzles are goofy, as mentioned. The action sequences annoyed me to no end, but they are few and far between.

I never did play Dreamfall, unfortunately.
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2006, 10:12:36 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on December 29, 2006, 05:23:39 PM

Quote from: kathode on December 29, 2006, 04:56:09 PM

But I hear he's talking about making the whole thing an MMO.

God, I hope not.  I fail to see how that story could be told  in any way, shape, or form in an MMO setting.  Not to mention the fact that I hate MMO games.

I doubt it will beat the success of the Myst MMOG.
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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2006, 10:45:42 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on December 29, 2006, 03:51:17 PM

Dreamfall.

You may not have heard of it, but if you enjoy a brilliant story and beautiful graphics, you have to check out Dreamfall.  After the past 2 days, it jumped from "never heard of it" to easily the second best game I've played this entire year behind FFXII.  This is definately a hidden gem that I think many of us probably just overlooked.

I think it's a series, but Dreamfall was the first game for me in it. I'm a huge fan of strong stories, fantasy blending with reality, sci-fi, realistic worlds and people, games that focus more on characters than combat, etc. I loved most of Dreamfall, it was the first time I've played an adventure game in awhile, and it really felt like a "next generation" adventure game. It had a great feel.

The game was over fairly quickly, it had zero replay value, and the ending was kind of a bummer. Even some of the core gameplay (I'm looking at you, combat), was a bit underwhelming. For a game that is all about a good story, said story should deliver. The ending was very anti-climatic for me. So while overall many parts of the game were great, the lack of replay value, bad implementation of combat, and a disappointing ending made it feel like it just didn't deliver.

As for "Game of the Year," needs to be well rounded. Just having a fantastic story (till the end) and characters isn't enough to elevate it to the next level. Best missed game? Maybe. But Rise of Legends gets my spot, great art too.
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2007, 04:08:50 PM »

Great news!  Funcom just announced that the Dreamfall/TLJ story will continue!  Episodic format and it's likely still a long ways off but nice to hear nonetheless.

I think the story heavy focus of the series is an excellent fit for episodic content model since the story and characters will not only create great cliffhangers but also just a genuine desire to see what happens next which certainly wasn't the case for something like Sin Episodes.

Press release here
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2007, 04:32:20 PM »

I bought this for my dad for Christmas since he loves adventure games-he played for a few hours but seemed to lose interest but it looked interesting to me-worth playing alone, or should I try TLJ first?
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2007, 04:32:53 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on March 01, 2007, 04:08:50 PM

Great news!  Funcom just announced that the Dreamfall/TLJ story will continue!  Episodic format and it's likely still a long ways off but nice to hear nonetheless.

I think the story heavy focus of the series is an excellent fit for episodic content model since the story and characters will not only create great cliffhangers but also just a genuine desire to see what happens next which certainly wasn't the case for something like Sin Episodes.

Press release here

That’s awesome, great, fantastic news!  Having recently finished The Longest Journey, I’m thrilled to hear that the story will be continuing.

Since the article mentions both, I am curious about whether this is going to be distributed on-line, or whether it will be an MMO.  I have no problem with episodic, online delivery (a la the new Sam & Max games), but I hate MMO games with the white-hot passion of a thousand burning suns.  TLJ/Dreamfall is more like a movie than a game, and since I loathe online gaming, the last thing I want to do is be required to play through it with other people.  If does end up being an MMO, it will ultimately kill any interest I have in the series.
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2007, 04:33:03 PM »

I played both Dreamfall games and enjoyed them very much. The 1st game came out quite some time ago; think it was 1999. Of the 2 the 1st game was much longer and better. I played the XBox version of the 2nd game so perhaps it would have been better on PC.

Unfortunately the CD-ROM release of the 1st game won't install on many newer computers even after applying patches. There's a newer DVD release but I haven't picked it up; too many other adventure games. If you haven't played Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, I'd recommend it as well as the 1st Syberia game.
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2007, 04:35:49 PM »

I think the plan is for two games- the episodic series which will be focused on the continuing the specific story and characters from Dreamfall.   The MMO will probably be much larger in scope but still canon in the worlds of Stark and Arcadia.

You can check out Ragnar Tornquist's blog at www.ragnartornquist.com where he discusses various things including earlier ideas of a TLJ MMO that sound like they still might apply here. 
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2007, 04:36:45 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on March 01, 2007, 04:33:03 PM

Unfortunately the CD-ROM release of the 1st game won't install on many newer computers even after applying patches. There's a newer DVD release but I haven't picked it up; too many other adventure games. If you haven't played Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, I'd recommend it as well as the 1st Syberia game.

Hmm, FWIW, I just replayed TLJ on my system under XP last year (import CD version) without issue. 
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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2007, 04:55:48 PM »

Quote from: Calvin on March 01, 2007, 04:32:20 PM

I bought this for my dad for Christmas since he loves adventure games-he played for a few hours but seemed to lose interest but it looked interesting to me-worth playing alone, or should I try TLJ first?

I've finished both games in the last 2 months, and played Dreamfall first.  It got me hooked, and I played through TLJ after the fact.  While both games are great, Dreamfall makes a lot more sense if you're familiar with the characters and events of TLJ.   There's many carryover characters and references to events that will leave you scratching your head if you're not familiar with them.  I think Dreamfall would be much more enjoyable if you’ve played through TLJ first.

That being said, Dreamfall is a great game on it's own merits.  Keep in mind that it is a slow starter and the controls take a bit of getting used to.  I'd say it didn't really pick up until about the 3 hour mark.  And while TLJ is probably a better game, it may be hard for some people to go back and play a game with graphics & interface from 1999.   I also found that the puzzles make much more sense in Dreamfall, and TLJ is pretty much impossible without a detailed walkthrough.  There’s lots of “strap the cellphone to the purple cat” type puzzles in TLJ.

If you’re interested, I’d be willing to part with my copy of TLJ (great game, but not really much replayability once it’s done).  Just shoot me a PM.

Quote
I think the plan is for two games- the episodic series which will be focused on the continuing the specific story and characters from Dreamfall.   The MMO will probably be much larger in scope but still canon in the worlds of Stark and Arcadia.

Whew, that’s good to hear.  I’ll just play the episodic stuff and skip the MMO entirely.

Quote
Unfortunately the CD-ROM release of the 1st game won't install on many newer computers even after applying patches.

Strange, I played the CD-ROM version of Dreamfall on my fairly new XP system and it worked just fine.  TLJ also played without a hitch.
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2007, 04:58:39 PM »

Thanks Gratch! While I generally just hate adventure games, I think I am officially going to put TLJ on the backlog and try to play it this spring when I am more free-Syberia too!
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2007, 05:02:37 PM »

I picked up The Longest Journey at a local Half Priced Books for a few bucks a couple of weeks ago and put it in my backlog.
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« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2007, 05:07:00 PM »

Quote from: Calvin on March 01, 2007, 04:58:39 PM

Thanks Gratch! While I generally just hate adventure games, I think I am officially going to put TLJ on the backlog and try to play it this spring when I am more free-Syberia too!

Heh, you sound exactly like me.  Prior to trying out Dreamfall, I hated adventure games and hadn't even glanced at the genre in years.  As soon as I played it, however, I immediately went out and picked up both TLJ and Syberia.  Haven't played much of Syberia yet (Final Fantasy VI got in the way), but the little I did see was pretty impressive.
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« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2007, 05:09:30 PM »

I didn't care much for Syberia.  Some of it was pretty good but it kind of goes nowhere.  The ending itself is incredibly abrupt and resolves absolutely nothing.  There is Syberia 2 (which I own but haven't played) but I've heard that it's no better at providing any sort of resolution. 

Nice enough adventure game, I suppose, but it didn't hold a candle to TLJ.
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« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2007, 05:12:30 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on March 01, 2007, 05:09:30 PM

I didn't care much for Syberia.  Some of it was pretty good but it kind of goes nowhere.  The ending itself is incredibly abrupt and resolves absolutely nothing.  There is Syberia 2 (which I own but haven't played) but I've heard that it's no better at providing any sort of resolution. 

Nice enough adventure game, I suppose, but it didn't hold a candle to TLJ.

My dad loves the Syberia games the most-in fact he says they are his favorite adventure games, and he felt that Syberia had a somewhat defined ending but did mention as soon he finished Syberia 2 that he wanted to know when the sequel was coming out-so probably it does not provide a clear cut resolution to the story. He simply finds the artwork, dialogue, and story superior to the other games in the genre he has played.
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« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2007, 05:16:23 PM »

If he liked Syberia he should definitely grab TLJ then.  Artwork might be kind of a wash- it's pretty great in Syberia but TLJ has it's fair share of stunning locations as well but the story and dialogue (*especially* the dialogue) in TLJ is flat out some of the best in gaming and shames Syberia by comparison.

All though I don't know how your dad feels about such things but it's worth noting that there can be some really bad language in TLJ at times. 
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« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2007, 05:25:33 PM »

I'd echo Kevin's thoughts, although from the little I've played, Syberia easily Trumps TLJ in the graphics department.  The 2D backgrounds in TLJ are incredible, but the late-90's low-poly characters are pretty jarring.

In regards to the language, 95% of TLJ has no bad language at all, but there is one character that uses "fuck" at least 2-3 times per sentence.  It's pretty lame and completely unnecessary to the story, but I guess they wanted to be edgy or something.  Come to think of it, there's a character or two in Dreamfall that do the same thing.
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« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2007, 05:31:31 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 01, 2007, 05:25:33 PM

I'd echo Kevin's thoughts, although from the little I've played, Syberia easily Trumps TLJ in the graphics department.  The 2D backgrounds in TLJ are incredible, but the late-90's low-poly characters are pretty jarring.

Good point!  I think TLJ was the first game that really showed me the benefits of Anti-Aliasing. 
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« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2007, 06:02:55 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on March 01, 2007, 04:36:45 PM

Quote from: kronovan on March 01, 2007, 04:33:03 PM

Unfortunately the CD-ROM release of the 1st game won't install on many newer computers even after applying patches. There's a newer DVD release but I haven't picked it up; too many other adventure games. If you haven't played Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, I'd recommend it as well as the 1st Syberia game.

Hmm, FWIW, I just replayed TLJ on my system under XP last year (import CD version) without issue. 

I'm not surprised, as 1 of my friends managed to get my set of install CD-ROMS to work on their WinXP desktop. Other friends encountered the same problem I had; installation would never complete. I suspected the problem I and my friends had was related to the type of DVD drive we had. I did some searching on the Funcom forums and found other people that had similar problems, but the issues seemed to be more common with the original NA release CD-ROMs.
I've never had a problem like this on my gaming rig with any other legacy games....go figure.
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« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2007, 06:13:02 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on March 01, 2007, 05:16:23 PM

If he liked Syberia he should definitely grab TLJ then.  Artwork might be kind of a wash- it's pretty great in Syberia but TLJ has it's fair share of stunning locations as well but the story and dialogue (*especially* the dialogue) in TLJ is flat out some of the best in gaming and shames Syberia by comparison.

All though I don't know how your dad feels about such things but it's worth noting that there can be some really bad language in TLJ at times. 

Sorry Kevin I was talking more for me potentially playing these in the future. Dad has TLJ too (bad language doesn't bother him one bit), but just as with Dreamfall, there was something about the mechanics that he didnt click with and as far as I know he quit after a few hours though he says he will try it again if he gets through dreamfall.
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